Thursday, April 30, 2009

Maybe I'll Get On Oprah!

Great. Somehow in the past few months I think I turned into one of those "hoarders" you see featured on Oprah. I don't know how it happened, but I suddenly find myself suffocated by clutter. It's so overwhelming to me that I need some type of plan to sort it all out!
My bedroom, my car, and my office are all filling up with boxes of displaced crap that I need to get rid of.

This would probably be a good thing to put on the list to discuss during my first counseling appointment next week. Yeah, I finally made one.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Progress Report

My kids brought mid-term Progress Reports home yesterday. So I was the "Report Card of My Codependent Life", most of the things that happen to me are like little quizzes. Easy enough to get a pretty decent score if you study a little. But The Kentucky Derby is equal to my "finals". It all leads up to this. It's Wednesday of Derby Week, so it's a good time for a Progress Report of my own.

When I first decided to write this journal I vowed to myself that it would not be an ongoing itemized list of every drink my husband took or every bad decision he made while drinking. It would not be a list of his misdeeds. This journal is NOT about him; it's about me.

With that, my dear readers, I will just say this has been a trying few days for me. I'm not quite ready to write about how I dealt with Derby 2009 because it's far from over. A lot can happen in three or four days (usually isn't over until Monday). I can tell you I'm not going to win any awards for healthy reactions, thoughts, or behaviors.

I have however, done a lot worse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life Is Short

I was just thinking of how this past Saturday, my coworker Bryan was fine. He was excited about playing Julius Ceasar in the Derby Festival Bed Races on Monday night...but that would not happen. By Sunday evening he'd have suffered some type of "attack" and would be placed on life support. By Monday afternoon his wife would be told he'd had a brain aneurysm and that she shouldn't expect him to survive the day.

Life is short. We don't know how much time we've got, really. We have to be the best we can be. We have to keep learning, keep improving, and keep loving. We can't afford to take even one day for granted....we should live each day like it might be our last.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Addiction Is Addiction

My wonderful sister-in-law, Kitty is in Las Vegas right now, on business. She called from the casino at Rio this afternoon to check in with me. At some point in the conversation she made the comment, "I don't know which is worse, a gambling addiction or an alcohol addiction." The answer to that question came to me instantly. In fact, I was just reading something on this very subject earlier this week.

An addiction is an addiction. While drug and alcohol addictions may have the most obvious ill effects on people, I believe they are all equally devistating. They all can take a physical toll on your body, they all control your thoughts, your actions, and your mood, your entire family.

Today is the first official day of Derby for my husband and me, and we officially played our classic roles as alcoholic and codependent, and let me tell you we fell into them in the blink of an eye.

I'm not going into details because what happened was ridiculous. We both acted absolutely ridiculous. I will say that both our behaviors were so classic and so deep rooted, that they poured out like a song we'd practiced and sung a thousand times. After our spat, we parted ways. He got in his car and said "see you at the house in a minute", and I came home. That was an hour and a half ago. For about the first hour or so I beat myself up, thinking "if I wouldn't have acted the way I did, he would have come on home. Instead, he's so pissed off he's going to drink to spite me." What's worse, I found myself doing a very dangerous thing. I put my kids' day on hold while I was freaking out. For a few minutes I wouldn't let them go outside or have a friend over (I got over that one fast!) I wanted to start calling his cell phone to find out where he was, but instead I started reciting the Serenity Prayer over and over until I convinced myself not to call and that whatever decision he makes today is his own and I had nothing to do with it.

The next 8 or 9 days can not go by fast enough for me. Yes, Kitty.....addiction is addiction. No matter how far I've come since October, I've got a helluva long way to go on the road to beating mine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quotes I Like

"You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it."
-Ken Keyes, Jr., "The Power of Unconditional Love"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Step Outside The Box

Yesterday was a big day for me.

I had planned to do a few things around the house, go to the grocery, and just lay low. While I was having my morning coffee, my husband's sister called on the phone to say she had four tickets to a private party at Thunder Over Louisville (the very large fireworks event and air show to kick off Derby).

I hate Derby. My husband on the other hand......loves it. In years past he would celebrate the two minute race with three or so weeks of out of control debauchery.I'm not sure my husband and I have EVER had any type of positive experience at any type of Derby event, even when we first started dating. They would always start out okay but then he gets drunk, I get pissed, and major drama always follows. I've loaded up babies and picked him up in the middle of the night walking home from miles away; drunk. I've found him aimlessly wandering school yards, out of his mind drunk after a long day at the track. I've thrown my hands up and just left him at events when it was hours past time to go; not knowing how he'll eventually get home. I could write paragraph upon paragraph of Derby stories that would make anyone's head spin, but I won't.

So when we got the invitation I immediately felt out of control. I didn't want to go because I was so terrified of what might happen. I stopped attempting to go to any type of Derby function with my husband years ago.

We started going in to our "roles". Him saying "I can tell you don't want to go; just forget it." Me saying "No, it's fine. Maybe it will be fun..." and not really meaning it. Then I just decided to bite the bullet and see what would happen; drawing a boundary in my mind and deciding if the boundary was crossed I'd take the kids and leave.

We ended up going. We took the kids. We had a bird's eye view of the events, a lovely catered meal, easy access to port-a-potties, and perfect weather. Alcohol was everywhere, but he didn't drink. It was tiring, but we had a fun evening with the kids.

After we got home he told me he was proud of me. He said he knew that was hard for me. I told him I was proud of him, and that I knew it was hard for him too.
I'm not getting delusions of gradeur; I know I'm in for a few headaches the next couple of weeks, but I'm trying to stay grounded, repeat the Serenity Prayer, and focus on the things I can control. It was just nice to be able to let go and step outside the box just a little.

Baby Steps.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Boundaries 101

As you've learned by now, this blog is not written exclusively for spouses of alcoholics. Codependence, and unhealthy behaviors in general affect us all. If you have a relationship with anyone at all, a parent, friend, or coworker you can practice healthy behaviors and non-healthy behaviors.

Since I just finished reading about them in Melodie Beattie's new book "The New Codependency" I want to write a little about boundaries.

Boundaries aren't something we just "get." They come from inside of us as honest expressions of who we are. At first setting limits is hard, but it becomes easier with practice and time. We open our mouths and say what we mean instead of saying what we think people want to hear.

Having good boundaries with people includes:

  • respecting their rights, privacy, and personal business;
  • asking, not expecting, assuming, demanding, or insisting;
  • doing what we say we will, and saying when plans change;
  • asking if it's a good time to talk when we call;
  • not arriving unannounced unless both parties agree that's okay;
  • not borrowing without asking;
  • telling the truth;
  • being nonjudgemental;
  • not confronting, accusing, or intervening without checking facts;
  • not pushing our beliefs on others;
  • not feeling entitled to taking what others have by manipulation;
  • not talking about others behind their backs.
When we're uncertain what someone's boundaries are, ask!

Here's a great place to start:
If you could say anything and it wouldn't be wrong,
what would you say and to whom?
That's the boundary you need to set.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I thought I had issues with control?

Dear readers, I have discovered a person so controlling I am truly paled by comparison. The interesting part of it is, I think this person has no clue they are this way.

Later this week in Detach, we will be discussing boundaries. Why we need them, how to set them, and most important, how to enforce them.

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm Late, I'm Late!!!

Wow. It's been a really tough day for my family.

Our day was filled with challenge after challenge....all things beyond our control. I had to stand by and watch a series of disastrous events unfold and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop any of them. When you have control issues like me and you desperately want to "rescue" but can't, this makes for a helluva day.
My husband is off on Fridays. Tomorrow he is running in a 10 mile race. He had planned to get up early, get our two kids off to school, go pick up his race pack, then come home to spend the rest of his day mentally and physically preparing for tomorrow's big race. He would have a nice big breakfast, then lunch; stretch, hydrate, workout, and get his mind where it needed to be.

God laughs at our plans.

Our son woke up sick and was unable to go to school. My husband had to take my daughter to school then come home, get my son ready, and take him to my Dad's house. That made him run late to pick up the race pack. After that he was supposed to meet up with his brother who works a few blocks from where he picked up the pack. For no apparent reason, the traffic was gridlocked trying to get out of the race parking lot and that made him really late meeting his brother who was on his lunch break. After that he had to race back home to get the checkbook, then go to pick up my son for a doctor's appointment. The doctor's appointment turned in to a two hour ordeal which meant no one was waiting for my daughter when she got out of school. Long story short, by the time my husband got home he was really struggling to keep it together. He hadn't had anything to eat all day and had been late for everything he tried to do. All the while I sat at my desk at work getting reports about how the day was falling apart and there was not one single thing I could do to fix any of it.

This may seem ridiculous to some people, but for a recovering addict and a codependent person, this day was pivotal. I know my husband wanted to retreat and go buy a 12 pack. Unable to fix everything, drinking sounded pretty good to me too! I just wanted to eat a cake or take something to calm me down. Day ain't over yet, and there's still some lingering tension in the air, but I am happy to report neither of us did any of these things.

Hectic days happen to everyone. Hell, they happen to me all the time. The fact is, as a codpendent person, I'd much rather a day like this happen to me than to anyone else. Plans get changed; that's life. It's all in how you react to these things and let them affect your actions that matters.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Since I wrote yesterday's post I have thought alot about the times I have been on the "giving" end of that same situation.

Late night and early morning calls to my friends and family (mostly my readers), giving reports of the drama unfolding in my household.

As part of my Step Nine (Made direct amends to such people wherever possible...), I would like to extend my apologies to anyone I may have harmed over the years during these out of control times in my life. I truly hope I did not disrupt your lives during my search for an answer.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Must We Always Learn The Hard Way?

People who are sick with alcoholism and other addictions have no idea, nor do they care, what their behavior is doing to those who love them.

I work with a woman who seemingly has little problems in her life. She and her husband are in their late 50's and very young at heart. They never had children, they get along great with each other, and are pretty much content as any couple I know with their lives.

The husband's brother is a train wreck. He, his wife, his daughter, and son-in-law are all drug and alcohol addicts with anger and violence problems. In the past two or three years their lives have spiraled out of control. There are fights, restraining orders, court dates, custody battles over a small child, and more drama than an hour at Wrestlemania. I've watched as these sick people have inch by inch, reeled my friend and her husband smack dab in the middle of their insanity. The effect it's had on them has been alarming. They are arguing with each other over who's side to take, what action to take, and what they need to do. There are 3:00 a.m. phone calls with screaming, fighting people in the background and assorted family members instructing them to listen to how the other ones are behaving. There are cars parked in front of their home in the middle of the night that have been reported to the police as stolen.

I've tried to explain to my friend about codependence and how it would be best to let the family know that they want out of this vicious sideshow. I can tell you right now, it's not going to do any good. My friend and her husband are very loving, very caring people, who want nothing more than to be able to fix this situation for their family members. I dread seeing the price they are about to pay in an attempt to accomplish that feat.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quotes I Like

I like this quote because it kinda sums up where I'm at right now in my life.

"At least I don't run around,
actively seeking my own demise anymore."
-Al Anon Member

That's an okay place for me to be right now.